Published: Fri, January 05, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

United Kingdom lawmakers call for 'latte levy' on takeaway cups

United Kingdom lawmakers call for 'latte levy' on takeaway cups

In a recently published report, a House of Commons committee said the Government had "sat on its hands" as disposable coffee cup waste has grown to an estimated 25,000 tons per year.

However, the difficulties surrounding the recycling of coffee cups are manifold: not only are recycling capabilities limited but the majority of cups go straight into the general waste.

The government has agreed that plastic waste is a problem, and has promised to look into a tax on single-use plastics, and plans to reveal a new policy later this year.

According to a report released by EAC on Friday (5 January), the United Kingdom produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year and an eye-watering 500,000 cups are thrown away each day. Half a million coffee cups are littered each day in the United Kingdom, the report said.

"We're calling for action to reduce the number of single use cups, promote reusable cups over disposable cups and to recycle all coffee cups by 2023".

Mike Turner, of the Paper Cup Alliance, said paper cups were the most sustainable and safe solution for drinks on-the-go.

Fiona Nicholls, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: "It's only if we take these necessary steps that we might be able to limit plastic waste to a level where we can recycle it all". "We are committed to increasing recycling rates", he said.

Although some coffee shops provide discounts for customers who bring their own cup, uptake of these offers is low at only 1-2 per cent of coffee purchases.

'Latte levy' could be imposed on UK coffee drinkers to reduce disposable cup waste
United Kingdom lawmakers call for 'latte levy' on takeaway cups

No one likes to pay more, but charges work - most people carry a reusable shopping bag since the introduction of the plastic bag charge, and the idea is that a "latte levy" will encourage reusable alternatives, or "drinking in" with a china cup. If this target is not achieved, the Government should ban disposable coffee cups'. Cups that inevitably get thrown away, because keeping them around would be plain weird.

"We believe that more testing is required to assess the impact a charge may have on changing behaviour", Hubbub's chief executive Trewin Restorick said.

"However, we are clear that this is something that must be addressed by industry, and that any associated costs should not be passed onto consumers".

"Most people are shocked and dismayed to hear that coffee cups are not recycled". "Those without in-store recycling should print their cups with a not widely recyclable label". But the report said that the move was not going far enough and was not effective.

He said he had tried, but failed, to source easily recyclable cups.

"This should pave the way for policy that ultimately stops the production of all non-recyclable plastic products".

Britain produces 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste each year.

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